Guitar “God” Eric Clapton kicked off his 2013 Tour in Phoenix, AZ last night and while it’s unlikely this tour will rank in the “Top 10 All Time Favorite Concerts” for anyone, an excellent time was had by all.
Clapton, started the evening off acoustically with the breezy and appropriate “Hello Old Friend”, from his 1976 release No Reason to Cry, followed by the moderate hit “My Father’s Eyes” from 1998’s Pilgrim, no, it wasn’t all that exciting and given Clapton’s catalog spanning 40 years of rock and roll one has to wonder why he would chose to kick off the evening with such tepid, easy listening tracks.
The show kicked into higher gear with “Got to Get Better in a Little While”, a favorite from the Derek and the Dominos days. Clapton tore into his wah wah on this tune and, despite his trademark stoic demeanor, finally showed signs of having a good time. The rapturous audience response confirmed the legendary rocker had at last tip toed into the “zone” we all had been patiently waiting for.
Surprisingly, the evening was a bit of a hit and miss affair, not all that unusual really during the first few nights of a new tour, one suspects the band/show will tighten with a little more time on the road. If I could suggest a tune they might consider exploring a little more during their future sound checks it would have to be the 70s classic, “Layla”, which last night meandered and drifted in an almost confused and listless way.
Concert highlights included Clapton’s definitive cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff”, (featuring awe inspiring guitar work from the “God” himself), “Little Queen of Spades”, a blues jam that allowed the full 9 piece band to stretch some extremely impressive muscles, and an extended version of “Cocaine” complete with shredding guitars and dueling pianos.
As a bit of a surprise, Paul Carrack, formerly of Mike & The Mechanics, Squeeze and Ace, is a member of EC’s band this time around and delivered some wicked work on both the organ and keys, not to mention some fine vocal work on his hits “Tempted”, (previously recorded by Squeeze), and “How Long” originally recorded by Carrack’s first band, Ace.
Hate to say it but it felt a bit like the big Clapton hits were just a lot of “going through the motions”, almost as if to say, “now that we got THAT out of the way, let’s play something we really like!” Definitely an understandable situation given how many times Clapton has performed these tunes, all I can tell you is, if you’re looking for engaging showmanship an Eric Clapton concert is not for you. However, if you’re coming to see one of the greatest guitarist rock and roll has ever offered shred a few strings, by all means run to the show, you won’t be disappointed!
The Wallflowers opened the show and, if you should happen to arrive late, never fear, you didn’t miss all that much.
Eric Clapton 2013 Setlist, US Airways Arena, Phoenix, AZ 3/14/2013
Hello Old Friend
My Father’s Eyes
Tell the Truth
Gotta Get Over
Black Cat Bone
Got to Get Better in a Little While
Tempted (Featuring Paul Carrack)
I Shot the Sheriff
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
Tears in Heaven
How Long? (Featuring Paul Carrack)
Stones in My Passway
Love in Vain
Little Queen of Spades
Sunshine of Your Love
High Time We Went (Featuring Paul Carrack)
5 thoughts on “Concert Review: Eric Clapton Tour 2013”
Saw the show last night in Houston. Spot on with your review. They cut Layla from our play list, perhaps they agreed with you.
Eric looked sober, straight and old along with much of the crowd. I was impressed with Paul Carrack and thought Tempted and How Long were excellent choices. Really liked Little Queen of Spades and had never heard it before.
Goodnight, Irene is a cowboy tune and was out of place and I never liked Eric’s version of I Shot the Sheriff. Would have preferred After Midnight, Let it Rain, I Feel Free, Lay Down Sally, Knockin on Heaven’s Door or Can’t Find my Way Home. Or Bell Bottom Blues if they are going to cut Layla. But this was not a Tribute Band.
I thought Wallflower was better than you gave them credit for. I didn’t find out until later that was Jakob Dylan or I might have paid more attention.
Thanks for the comment. Wow, they cut Layla? Amazing. The songs you list I would have loved to have heard as well.
As far as the setlist is concerned I’m actually one of those people who believe “Tears in Heaven” should be retired from the live shows, no matter how many records it sold or how high it once charted, we all know why it was written and it’s a bit of a bummer tune, (even if they’ve added a slight reggae lilt to it. )
As far as The Wallflowers are concerned, I really liked them when I saw them open for Counting Crows 15 years ago but, at this point I’d just like to see Clapton give some exposure to an up and coming band. Just a personal preference of mine.
Thanks Again! Cheers!
Very good review of the Phoenix concert. As the first date of the tour, I felt for the first several songs Clapton was striving to sing well for the audience.. Once settled in, everything reached a higher plane. His guitar licks are just awesome. Paul Currack added a pleasant variety to the show with Clapton playing a great solo on How Long. The transition on Layla to the piano and slide guitar section was awkward. Of the three previous Clapton concerts I attended, I never felt that section of Layla was performed well, even with Derrick Trucks on slide. Song selection was thoughtful given Clapton’s long career. For any fan of Clapton, this and any of his concerts are well worth attending.
We are long time Clapton fans. We grew up with him, his music, his pain, his successes and failures. We felt his loss of Connor, and we respect his grief process in “Tears in Heaven”. Each time I have seen it performed live, the crowd showed due respect and it was memorable. As always, Eric rocked the house. Absolutely ROCKED the house. This man is the fabric of music’s history and culture. Not only in this country, but world wide. Many lives have been touched, influenced, and I dare say from personal experience “saved” because of the music that expressed our thoughts, fears and angers as this country came of age, and struggled with social crises. Admittedly, some of you didn’t even know Jacob Dylan was someone of note. Perhaps before you criticize those who stand in front of us and share what God has bestowed upon them, that they share with us… you should study your history. I was young, naive and opened my mouth without the knowledge or respect to support my words. I will have tolerance for those of you who do so now.
Your “tolerant” comment regarding Jakob Dylan amuses me, I actually hadn’t noticed it before. We’re going to agree to disagree as far as him actually being “a person of note”. Here’s a riddle for ya; what do you call the son of a legend? Give up? You call him, the son of a legend. Not sure what “history” you were recommending we study, perhaps his Dad’s? I’ve got every one of Dad’s albums and have enjoyed Dad in concert at least 10 times, BIG fan of Dad. Thanks for sharing, Cheers!